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Mississippi College Students Receive Dental Scholarships

Mississippi College juniors (left to right) Drew Sumrall of Vancleave and Andrew Weir of Newton.
Mississippi College juniors (left to right) Drew Sumrall of Vancleave and Andrew Weir of Newton.

First wearing braces as a seventh grader influenced Drew Sumrall to become a dentist. He wore braces again as a high school junior.

A Mississippi College junior, Sumrall will get the opportunity to pursue the profession as a recipient of a $140,000 scholarship to dental school.

A resident of the Gulf Coast community of Vancleave, Sumrall was recently selected for the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program. The $35,000 annual scholarship will pay for dental school in return for serving patients four years in a rural area of the Magnolia State.

On track to graduate from MC in 2021, Drew will use the scholarship to pursue studies spanning four years at the University of Dentistry in Jackson.

He initially became familiar with the Baptist-affiliated university from his faith-building experience in Clinton as a Super Summer camper. “It was a Christian college, and a smaller school with a personal atmosphere,” says the member of First Baptist Church Vancleave.

A 2017 Vancleave High graduate, he’s the son of James and Lisa Sumrall. His father works at Chevron refineries of Pascagoula. His mom serves as a wound care nurse at Ocean Springs Hospital.

Drew Sumrall, 20, stays involved as an undergraduate on the Clinton campus. He’s one of the Welcome Week student leaders, is a member of the Civitan Club and serves with the pre-dental society.

Created by the state Legislature in 2013, the scholarship program identifies up to seven college sophomores and juniors each year demonstrating high academic achievements. They are students on a path to become successful dentists in rural towns.

Also selected for the scholarship is Mississippi College junior Andrew Weir, 20, of Newton. A biomedical sciences major, Weir says the scholarship opened doors for him to pursue the dental field. Without the state funds, he said, “It would have been a lot harder. I would have applied for loans.”

What led him to seek to become a dentist? “I felt called to give back to the community.”

Andrew is the son of Sam and Karla Weir. His dad is a financial advisor, while his mom works as a behavioral specialist for the Mississippi Choctaws tribal school in Philadelphia. Andrew Weir is a May 2019 graduate of East Central Community College in Decatur.

MC became the right fit, he said, because the institution is a vibrant Christian college with an excellent record preparing students for dental school.

The Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program is based at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. So is a similar program offering scholarship for students to enroll in medical school to serve the healthcare needs of rural Mississippians.